Depth was the big positive for coach Allister Coetzee out of the 22-14 loss for the DHL Stormers against Cheetahs on Saturday evening.
Coetzee selected a completely different side to the one that beat the Lions at Newlands last week, opting to omit most of the big names and look at a number of players pushing hard for inclusion in the 30 man squad.
“The players understand that we are never happy to lose at Newlands.” said the coach. “That said though, tonight there certainly were some positives. We used the game to assess a number of player’s ability to compete at this level. The Cheetahs brought a full strength side and the game certainly gave us some good insights into our depth this season.” said the coach.
The Stormers were competitive to the end and had a number of try scoring opportunities. “Accuracy is crucial at this level and certain players need more technical work. It is however very comforting to know that our systems have generated some great depth, with a number of players ready to make their mark at this level.”
The Stormers travel to PE next week to take on the Kings in their final preparation match and Allister Coetzee hinted that he would take a strong side, one as close as possible to the team he would look to start against the Hurricanes in their first league fixture. Bekker, Vermeulen and Duvenage are all expected back next week, whilst Elstadt had a good 30 minutes tonight.
Stormers: Try: Fourie, Pens: Catrakilis 3
Cheetahs: Tries: Jansen, Cons: Goosen, Pens: Goosen 3, Ebersohn, Drop: Goosen
Stormers: 15 Gerhard van den Heever, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Deon Carstens.
Replacements: Siyabonga Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Brok Harris, Eben Etzebeth, Don Armand, Nick Fenton-Wells, Rohan Kitshoff, Johannes Conradie, Kurt Coleman, Michael van der Spuy, Berton Klaasen.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Lourens Adriaanse, George Earle, Ashley Johnson, Marnus Hugo, Sias Ebersohn, Willie le Roux, Philip Snyman, Ryno Benjamin, François Uys.
Referee: Craig Joubert